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Salt Water Etching Copper-Based Alloys


Beth Kirtland

In-Person Only

February 18, 2024
10:00 am - 4:00 pm EST

1 Day Workshop


Class Description

Learn how to etch your copper-based alloys (copper, brass, bronze & nickel) using salt water, a battery and a Silhouette Cameo die cutting machine to cut custom vinyl decals as the resist. We will cover how to apply the vinyl resist to your copper based alloy, how to safely and properly etch your metal, how to stop the etching process, how to clean up the salt water when the etching process is complete, and how to properly filter the salt water so it can be reused again and stored properly. A list of all materials used in class will be provided. You will leave with at least 1 fully etched sheet of copper (or copper based alloy) ready to be turned into something fabulous!

Class Outline

10:00am – 10:30am: Intro, overview, and setup explanation and tracing demo (quick demo)

10:30am – 11:30am: Cutting custom vinyl decals for students (cut two decals per student)

11:30am – 12:00am: Demo how to get vinyl onto metal, Students apply vinyl to their metal

12:00pm – 1:00pm: Lunch

1:00pm – 2:00pm: Salt water set up and getting metal prepped and protected

2:00pm – 3:00pm: Etching metal

3:00pm – 4:00pm: Cleaning up metal, Storing ferric nitrate or filtering salt water


A basic metalsmithing understanding. No soldering is done in this workshop.

Materials, Supplies & Tools

Required to bring to class: a piece of 18g-20g (it can be thicker than 18g, but not recommended under 20g) copper based alloy (copper, brass, bronze or nickel) in whatever size is to be etched. Recommended at least a 3in × 3in sheet. You are more

than welcome to bring more than 1 sheet to etch as well.

Class Dates

February 18, 2024